The Beautiful and True

spring-joy-2009-023

Traveling a weary week to Poland,
backpacks stuffed with the necessary
and absurd. (Logic is too much to expect
when the world has gone mad.) Homes
destroyed, the roads gone, too, and the
neighbors? Who can say? “I don’t know
where I live anymore,” wept one old man
trudging through debris to nothing he wanted,
or knows, or chose; still, plodding on and away,
through the freezing night, into dark mystery.

Mothers and children, crammed in bright
stations, on benches and floors; looking
back towards yesterday, their holy ground,
and forward to questions without answers,
looking to their phones, staring into nothing,
looking to bear what they cannot bear to see.
Yet holding her child close to her heart, a woman says,
“I’m uncertain what is next, but I know we will return.”

Here were communities, watered and thriving, now
uprooted, connections left to desiccate, unearthed,
drying in the heat of depravity’s flames. Husbands,
fathers, brothers, sons. Men who owned their lives
and wore them comfortably, as students, engineers,
teachers, doctors, farmers, (only just preparing spring’s
planting), have stayed behind to fight for that which
they are, and will not yield, the beautiful and true.

A boy in soldier’s clothes comforts a child,
then bandages a woman’s head. He fumbles,
embarrassed by a camera sharing his clumsiness
5000 miles away, but he takes such gentle care in this
moment and the next. On Valentine’s Day, a month and
a lifetime past, he walked to classes and wondered if
the one he loved might love him, too. Today, an AK-47
hangs from his shoulder and he wears a helmet too large
for his adolescent head. How do the beautiful and true survive?

A tiny grandmother, babushkaed and bold, safe in Krakow,
smiled into the camera, “The bombs were everywhere;
the enemy shooting from behind every tree. But I am here!
I am alive! And that is good! Yes, that is very good!”

Where do these people find such strength,
the courage to leave; to part; to stay? People who
hug, and grieve, and stand to face the enemy,
unarmed except with brave defiance and wit; who
are these people of such fierce fire, too strong
to surrender their hope or joy? Too wise to believe
any despoiler could own their beauty and truth?

“He may destroy our homes;” one said,
“he may steal our land and believe
himself rich, but he would be deluded.
He will never possess our hearts or our
spirits. His evil only makes them stronger.
They will endure; they will remain and rise,
green and wild, beautiful and true;
they will grow and live forever.”

IMG-1755 (1)IMG-4324IMG-4725 (1)IMG-3603spring lambs

Dedicated, with all my love, to the people of Ukraine.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

8 thoughts on “The Beautiful and True

  1. Sharing with you this time 🙂 Today would have been my husbands bday

    Since you’ve been gone…..

    The world has become an unusual and unpredictable place you wouldn’t recognize….

    Red and Blue can’t get out of their own way so I’m somewhere in the quagmire of indecision….looking for the road less traveled.. and Aliens.

    We’ve been through a pandemic that has left us awkward and weird. Wearing a mask felt strangely safe in a non-scientific way. Now we are told it might be over – something shinier, but not brighter, is in our newsfeed.

    Our friends and family seem far away sometimes, but social media tells us what they are doing…We are used to long stretches of time without each other. Some have completely disappeared altogether. But I know they all miss you terribly.

    The house you built has healed friends and family, over and over again. It is lovingly referred to as “The Healing House” by many. It will soon be time to see how hard I’ve been holding on and start the process of letting it go.

    The sunset you placed in the sky behind the house has all the colors in your paint set. I think of you every time and my heart aches for you…..

    I did what you asked me to do when you said “if something ever happens to me and you need a solid career……” I have carried on our business another 12 years. I use every single studio item you left for me…. Every light, every stand, every filter, and even things I don’t understand how to use – they are safe here and I use them. I am eternally grateful for what you taught me. Thank you.

    Your children are perfect. Next time you fly by, look for two shining stars, beacons of light, holding their own in this crazy place. Thank you for placing them in my womb. There is nothing else more important to me.

    I don’t believe you are in heaven, or in the ground. I think you are free. Loving us from wherever you are.

    Ride Free RBC 3/15/68-9/19/10

    Sent from my iPhone http://www.lieslclarkphotography.com

    >

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  2. Gentle peace to your spirit, Liesl. These losses are always part of us; we choose what to make of their pain, power, and invitations. It sounds like you, too, have chosen to create beauty and truth, and continue seeking ways to do so. Thank you for sharing, for your artist’s energy in the world, and your faithfulness to healing. Love to your tender heart. Be safe and well.

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  3. How beautiful, Kitty. How painfully and searingly true. I can’t look too long at the photos – as I’m sure you can’t either – because I become so overwhelmed with the insanity and uselessness of it all. We can never understand why these things happen – it’s not in the history books or studies of economics. It’s somewhere beyond our reason and we can only ask that spirits stay strong and know as little pain as possible. Thank you for this.

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  4. Oh, yes, Jeanne: utterly insane, and I’ve needed to be very intentional about rebalancing and choosing healthy coping practices. It’s hard to detach from such immense suffering and the unbelievable evil disregard of everything precious and sacred.

    Thank you for being one of my bright lights in this space beyond reason. Gentle peace, my friend.

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  5. Thank you for so beautifully expressing what is in my heart and mind. So rich, so brave are these people who learned endurance the very hard way.

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    1. They are incredible. It is heartbreaking to witness their suffering. I’m glad the world is helping as it’s able, but it’s agonizing that we can’t do more, and utterly wretched to watch Putin’s comfort and emotional detachment from his monstrous choices. What an abysmal misuse of power.

      And yet the Ukrainians face this evil and remain united in calling it out for what it is.

      I pray for swift peace and justice and for the safety of these precious lives; it’s such a great tragedy for both countries.

      Peace to your heart, Emily; peace to the world.

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    1. It’s ghastly. Such brutality and cruelty. I have to record images I see and words I hear and hold them in my heart. When things don’t make sense, we have to make art; when there’s such destruction, we have to create. I write and long for my gardens. (Soon!) And every day, I pray this war will end, that new peace and healing will begin. Love to you. XO

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